A one-time payment seen as a way to lessen the impact of the rising cost of living would likely be between $200 and $400, according to 7NEWS.
It was reported earlier that a one-time payment is being weighed by the federal government as part of the upcoming budget.
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7NEWS political editor Mark Riley earlier reported that the payment, if included in the budget, would likely hit bank accounts ahead of the federal election, which is expected to be held in May.
“After talking to the bureaucrats, I suspect it’s going to cost maybe a couple hundred dollars, maybe $250, something like that,” he reported on Weekend sunrise.
It probably wouldn’t be higher than $400, he said, because the more that would threaten inflation and subsequently drive up interest rates.
“(A payment of) $700 or $800, and you’re talking about stimulus and it’s not an economy that needs stimulus right now,” he said.
“We already have inflation threatening to burst, which would lead to higher interest rates, which would lead to higher wages, which would be a good thing, but that would lead to higher prices, and then you would find yourself in an upward spiral.
This week, politicians remained silent on the payment reports, saying more would be revealed on budget night, scheduled for March 29.
However, they have confirmed that some form of relief is on the way.
“I think a lot of families are struggling right now,” Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
“And the number one topic around the kitchen table in Australia is the cost of living and so there will be some relief in that budget.”
7NEWS understands that the aid will take the form of one-off bonuses for employees, which Mr Frydenberg said will be “temporary, targeted and commensurate with the challenge we face”.
Mr Frydenberg said the next budget would reveal a trajectory where debt, relative to the size of the economy, would peak lower and earlier than expected in December last year.
“What we’re looking to do is … reduce those cost of living pressures by putting more money in people’s pockets,” he said on Friday.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham followed suit, telling weekend sunrise the budget would ‘build on the legacy’ of giving working Australians ‘more disposable income’.
“We are a government that has always sought to put more money back in its pockets,” he said.
The treasurer said earlier that the economic support deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic could not continue, with continued funding actually doing more harm than good.
“That would risk putting additional pressure on inflation, interest rates and the cost of living,” he said.
He promised that the government would not “integrate” any new structural spending on the back of temporary revenue increases.
Labor Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the federal government could not trust what he was saying about the economy.
Dr Chalmers said the March 29 economic plan on the eve of an election showed ‘all signs of another budget filled with secret slush funds before the election and secret cuts after’.
“This coalition government has next to nothing to show for the record debt it had already multiplied even before the pandemic,” he said.
“After a decade of marketing and mismanagement, the dividend for Australians is causing the cost of living to skyrocket, real wages to fall and families to fall further behind.”
Funding for mental health in the budget
Mental health support will be a key part of the federal budget in just over a week, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
Mr Hunt says mental health is one of the four pillars of Australia’s long-term national health plan.
Other areas are primary care with a strong focus on access to new medicines and better treatments to help doctors, support for hospitals and private health insurance, and medical research.
He said that the focus would be on youth suicide.
“Despite all expectations, thanks to what we have been able to do in terms of personalized mental health support, we have seen a reduction in suicides in Australia of 5% in 2020 – we are still awaiting final figures for 2021,” said said Mr. Hunt. Sky News Sunday agenda programme.
“We want to see it go down, we want to see it go towards zero.”
Details on mental health support will be released in the March 29 budget.
– With PAA